Thursday, 9 July 2015

Leaving Foster Care

When I left foster care I was told that lodgings had been found for me with a Mrs H. She lived where the Maltings Development is now right in the centre of St Albans and only 3 minutes from my job. I can still remember the day that I moved from my foster home into the back bedroom in Mrs H's little house. All I had in the world could be fitted into a brown suitcase and two large bags and I expect that seems strange to people today who seem to have so many possessions.

My foster home was 3 minutes from here

Mrs H was quite old, but she was lovely. She looked after me like a real Mother would and I was very happy there. I stayed there until after I got engaged to Jane my late wife. You didn't usually live together until after you were married in those days but Mrs H didn't say anything when Jane sometimes stayed overnight. Mrs H had been a widow for many years, her husband had been killed in a factory accident when they hadn’t been married very long. It was one of the very few times I cried as an adult when I went to her funeral. I helped carry her coffin from the hearse into the church and I was pleased that I had been asked to do that.

My lodgings with Mrs H were 2 minutes from here

I only saw my foster parents a few times after I moved out. My O level results were sent on a postcard to their address (no going into school to collect results in the 1970s) so I went down to collect them. Grades went from 1 to 9 with 1 to 6 counting as a pass. I got 1s in Maths, Physics and Chemistry - a grade 2 in art and a grade 3 in English. I was pleased with 5 passes and later on I used the results to get onto FE college evening classes. Lots of people did evening classes in those days and I made some new friends there. We used to go as a group to watch the professional football in Luton or in Watford, travelling there on the train.

It is strange that so few books have been written about the 1970s. It was an exciting time to live through and in some ways much better than now. There were no computers in schools and just a few in the college. Nobody used mobile phones and there was no internet or email. Like now social workers were always moaning about case loads and they always tried to look trendy. They never did much for me!

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